Thyroid cancer is a cancer that starts in the thyroid gland. The thyroid gland is located inside the front of your lower neck.
Thyroid cancer can occur in people of any age.
Radiation increases the risk of developing thyroid cancer.
Exposure may occur from:
• Radiation therapy to the neck (especially in childhood)
• Radiation exposure from nuclear plant disasters
Other risk factors are a family history of thyroid cancer and chronic goiter (enlarged thyroid).
There are several types of thyroid cancer:
• Anaplastic carcinoma (also called giant and spindle cell cancer) is the most dangerous form of thyroid cancer. It is rare, and spreads quickly.
• Follicular tumor is more likely to come back and spread.
• Medullary carcinoma is a cancer of non-thyroid hormone-producing cells that are normally present in the thyroid gland. This form of thyroid cancer tends to occur in families.
• Papillary carcinoma is the most common type, and it usually affects women of childbearing age. It spreads slowly and is the least dangerous type of thyroid cancer.